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Trump Administration Issues Updated Travel Ban

On March 6, 2017, the Trump Administration issued an updated Travel Ban Executive Order suspending travel for 90 days to the US for nationals of six predominantly Muslim countries, as well as a 120 day suspension of the US’s Refugee Program, effective March 16, 2017.

Some exceptions to the Travel Ban now include: US Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) or Green Card Holders; dual citizens of a designated country and a non-designated country traveling on a passport from a non-designated country; those with documents valid on March 16, 2017, or any date thereafter permitting travel to the US; and others (see below).

Updated Travel Ban: Overview

The updated Travel Ban Executive Order, known formally as “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” imposes a 90-day suspension of entry to the US of nationals from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia or Yemen who are:

  1. outside the US on the Travel Ban’s effective date (March 16, 2017);
  2. do not currently have a valid US visa on March 16, 2017; and,
  3. did not have a valid visa at 5:00 EST January 27, 2017 (the effective date of the first Travel Ban Executive Order).

The updated Travel Ban exempts Iraqi citizens. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State have the discretionary authority, on a case-by-case basis, to issue visas or allow entry of nationals of the six designated countries if such individual demonstrates that the denial of his or her US entry would cause undue hardship, that his or her entry would not pose a threat to national security, and that his or her entry would be in the national interest.

Exceptions to the Updated Travel Ban

Exceptions to the new Travel Ban include:

  • US lawful permanent residents (green card holders);
  • foreign nationals admitted to or paroled into the US after the Travel Ban’s effective date March 16, 2017;
  • individuals who have a document valid on March 16, 2017, or any date thereafter that permits travel to the US;
  • dual nationals when traveling on a passport issued by a non-designated country;
  • foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic, NATO, C-2 for travel to the United Nations, G-1, G-2, G-3, or G-4 visas; and,
  • individuals already granted asylum or refugee status in the US prior to March 16, 2017.

Updated Travel Ban as Applied to Refugees

Measures of the updated Travel Ban as it applies to refugees are as follows:

  • The US is suspending the Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.
  • Upon resumption of the US Refugee Admissions Program, the US will not accept more than 50,000 refugees for fiscal year 2017.
  • The Executive Order does not apply to refugees whom the State Department has already formally scheduled for transit.
  • During the 120-day suspension of the Refugee Admissions Program, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Homeland Security have the discretion to jointly determine to admit individuals as refugees on a case-by-case basis if they determine that entry of such individuals as refugees is in the national interest and would not pose a threat to US security or welfare.

Other Key Features of the Updated Travel Ban

Other notable points of the updated Travel Ban Executive Order are listed below.

  • In the first 20 days after the effective date, DHS will conduct a global, country-by-country review of the identity and security information that each country provides to the US Government to support US visa and other immigration benefit determinations. Countries will then have 50 days to comply with requests from the US Government to update or improve the quality of the information they provide.
  • DHS, in conjunction with the Department of State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the DOJ, will develop uniform screening standards for all immigration programs government-wide as appropriate and in the national interest.
  • The Secretary of Homeland Security will expedite the completion and implementation of a biometric entry-exit system for all in-scope travelers entering and departing the US.
  • The Secretary of State will review all nonimmigrant visa reciprocity agreements to ensure that they are, with respect to each visa classification, truly reciprocal.
  • The Department of State will restrict the Visa Interview Waiver Program and require additional nonimmigrant visa applicants to undergo an in-person interview.
  • DHS, in coordination with DOJ, will make information available to the public every 180 days regarding: the number of foreign nationals who have been charged with terrorism-related offenses while in the US; who have been convicted of terrorism-related offenses while in the US; who have been removed from the US based on terrorism-related activity, affiliation, or material support to a terrorism-related organization, or any other national-security reasons.
  • DHS and DOJ will also provide to the public information regarding the number and types of acts of gender-based violence against women, including so-called “honor killings,” in the US by foreign nationals.

See also updated State Department Info, DHS Fact Sheet, DHS Q&A, White House Implementation Memorandum.

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